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Chris Brooks MRICS Associate Partner Whitmarsh Lockhart

All weather running track (case study)

Avium’s All-Weather Running Track ensures children won’t run into problems in the wetter months

Organisation Name: Bridlewood Primary School, Swindon, Wiltshire
Website: www.bridlewoodprimaryschool.org.uk
Industry: Education
Product: Avium All-Weather Running Track

With one-in-ten children estimated to be obese by the age or 4 or 5, schools from across the UK are embracing exercise initiatives like the Daily Mile which aims to get every child running a mile a day in a bid to improve fitness, health and concentration in lessons.

However, although running around a school field might be practical in summer, it can be soggy and muddy in winter. So, in autumn 2016, after successful trials of their own version of the Daily Mile – the Daily Run – Swindon-based Bridlewood Primary School made the decision to install an all-weather running track that would enable pupils to keep on running, whatever the weather.

“Affordable, with minimal upheaval when it came to installation”

Jenny Hulse is Bridlewood’s PE Teacher and she explains why the school chose the Avium all-weather running track – a cost-effective, porous path comprising a triple-layered natural gravel system with a unique self-binding top coat.

“We’d heard about the Daily Mile and wanted to try something similar,” she explains. “However, owing to the limited time we have in school, we decided to set it up as a ten-minute run which we called the Daily Run. Basically the children run as far as they can in ten minutes. We now run three classes at a time out of nine classes in total, so that’s around 90 children running at any one time which fits into our school day perfectly.”

Initially Jenny tested out the new Daily Run with her own class. “It was summer 2016, which was fine because the grass was dry,” she says. “But in order to keep the Daily Run going all year round, I began to look into more permanent tracks for when the weather wasn’t so good.

“Luke Whiteside from Avium came over to talk about their porous all-weather running track. They’d already laid tracks for other local schools who seemed happy with the results. Their quote was also very competitive and much more affordable than, say, tarmac or rubber which were way out of our price bracket.

“Better still, the National Lottery was happy to provide the funding and so, over the Autumn Half-Term break 2016, the team from Avium began installation. The upheaval was minimal and one week on, everything was up and running – literally!”

A naturally porous material that allows water to drain through

“One of the many good things about Avium’s all-weather running track is that it’s made from a natural gravel system rather than concrete, tarmac or rubber,” says Jenny. “So it looks more like a pleasant path through a park than a sports track making it more sympathetic to our landscaping, especially where it passes through an attractive archway in the hedge before running down to the school pond. Also, it can be easily extended – or even removed at some future point without leaving a blot on the landscape.

“Our grounds suffer from poor drainage, especially down by the pond which can get quite waterlogged in winter. But because the track is porous, any water drains straight through. It’s been in daily use for six months and has survived the winter without any problems. If anything, the surface is even better thanks to hundreds of small feet pounding on it every day – and no puddles or slippery sections to worry about!”

“Top marks from the kids!”

“Working with Avium has been a very positive experience,” Jenny continues. “They were quick with their quote, the price was competitive and the running track has been perfect for our needs. Luke and his staff were efficient and professional, and left the site tidy following installation. They even came back to plant grass seed around the edge where the grass had worn away. We’ve been really pleased and have already recommended their services to other schools who are interested in doing something similar.

“I’m speaking at a school PE conference soon to explain how our Daily Run works, how we got the funding, why we’re thrilled with the Avium product and how the children can’t wait to get out of the classroom and onto it every day.

“Also, I recently put together a questionnaire for our pupil-run school council asking: ‘Do they enjoy using the running track? What do they like best? What would they improve?’ Eleven out of twelve said they enjoyed it; they liked getting out of the classroom and moving about. Most felt that their fitness had improved since October. Yes, the kids have definitely given our Avium all-weather running track top marks!”

Please see link to arial view of the all weather running track on google Google maps

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